The Scottish third sector is on the cusp of something big. 2017 could be the year we leapfrog the rest of the UK and become a world leader in the use of digital as a tool to bring about positive societal change.
Over the last six months I’ve been working with nineteen leaders from across Scotland’s third sector on a journey of digital leadership, part of the groundbreaking #OneDigital programme. From the work has emerged a Call to Action (read in full at the bottom of this post) which challenges Scotland’s third sector to better meet the needs of service users, supporters and partners. As Beth Murphy, #OneDigital Project Manager at SCVO, outlines, this is about people:
Being digital doesn’t mean being inhuman. We don’t see it as a way to save money and cut corners. Evolving your charity to fully take advantage of digital can mean having the data you need to demonstrate impact, developing services that meet the 21st century expectations of your users and freeing up time by reducing administration.
To bring about the change the public demands we need strong leadership. We need leaders like Mary Allison, Scotland Director at Breast Cancer Now. At the recent 3rdsectordigicamp Mary talked openly about embracing digital, the need to challenge the status quo and the need to learn from failure.
Digital isn’t a nice-to-have. It shapes how people live their lives, the third sector needs to embrace digital to ensure we remain fit for purpose. We need leaders who understand that. As David McNeill, Digital Director at SCVO, makes clear:
Leaders in the third sector do not need to be digital experts, but we do need to lead change which will enable our organisations to be fit-for-purpose in a digital world.
The Call to Action asks three main audiences to take specific actions over the next twelve months to ensure the Scottish third sector leads the way:
Charity trustees, chief executives and other third sector leaders
- Ensure that you have the knowledge you need to drive digital change and engage in networks to support your professional development
- Understand the digital skills of your staff, volunteers and end users, and invest in training and support to develop them
- Encourage charities to recruit a trustee to their board who understands digital and can support organisational change.
- Highlight best practice in digital adoption in charities to inspire and motivate other organisations.
- Make explicit statements about the importance of digital and advocate for consideration of a digital approach in the work you fund.
- Train grants officers to understand how to assess and evaluate digital initiatives.
How will you get involved?
Share the Call to Action with your staff, volunteers and trustees. Join in the discussion using the #OneDigital hashtgag.